Oregon Coast Escapees HANGOUT! (September 9-16. 2021)

9/30/20213 min read

This was our first time in the state of Oregon and what better way to see the sights than with 40 other Escapees? This Hangout was Sept. 9-16 in Garibaldi. The Escapees Hangouts sell out quickly. After being on the waiting list, we were excited to to get in once a spot opened up! Wait . . . what? We get to hangout on Oregon's North Coast for a week? Our base camp for the week was Old Mill RV Park & Event Center in Garibaldi. We had full-service hookups which were a bonus for us, as we typically dry camp. We went from not knowing anyone at the beginning of the week to being able to strike up a conversation with any of them by the end of the week. That was because the week was full of social outings that immersed us into the sights of Garibaldi and the close town of Tillamook. I mean, look at all our new friends!

The week started off with a team-based scavenger hunt through the town of Tillamook. When we arrived, we noticed quilt blocks mounted on barns and businesses in town and throughout the county. There are actually more than 104 quilt squares. Many people come to this area to see the quilt squares. Our scavenger hunt had us taking pictures in front of these quilt squares. We had an absolute blast! We ended up coming in first for having the most points earned during the scavenger hunt and our prize- plastic toy recorders which went immediately into our geocaching bag.

Prior to arriving at the campground, we stocked up on groceries but we ended up not using very many of them. We enjoyed meals of fish and chips throughout the week along with an evening of 'appetizers and desserts' potluck at Rockaway Beach. After eating the oh-so-many yummy appetizers and desserts, we ended the evening with a fire on the beach chatting with friends and stargazing.

We also enjoyed a steam train ride operated by the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. It took us from Garibaldi to Rockaway Beach. It made us feel like children again, especially hearing the 'toot, toot' of the train's horn. Once we were in town, we visited the tourist shops and enjoyed a nice lunch at the Sand Dollar Restaurant.

Then, finally it was time for a trip to the Tillamook Creamery! Michelle couldn't wait to get her hands on some ice cream. It was our first time eating this brand of ice cream and it did not disappoint. I got a scoop of udderly chocolate and chocolate chip cookie dough. Kyle got mountain huckleberry and white raspberry yum. Oh, and who could forget the cheese curds? They were so good as well. I guess you could say, "We came . . .we saw . . . we con-curd." (You can thank Michelle for the great play on words.) It is free to enter the creamery and it is a self-guided tour. You can watch ice cream and cheese being made while looking through giant windows. Fact: Tillamook ice cream is made with 13g of milk fat. Other brands of ice cream are made with 10 g of milk fat. Fact: Tillamook ice cream tastes creamier because it's made with more cream and less air. Fact: The number of cows in the town of Tillamook fluctuates between 22,000 and 25,000. The full time resident population of people is approximately the same at 24,500.

We also participated in a group service project at Kilchis Point Reserve. This was a great opportunity for our Escapees organization to give back to the community that has given us so much! The job for the morning included staining the benches that sit along the gorgeous walking path through the reserve and doing some trail maintenance to rid the trail of overgrowth. It was a great sunny morning and we had lots of eager volunteers. Out of the 90 benches that needed staining, we stained about a third of them in the time we were there. Kyle really enjoyed the trail maintenance that he did. He spent time with a weed whacker trimming bushes and overgrowth along the trail.

Whew! We sure stayed busy. A few other excursions included spending an afternoon at the Tillamook Air Museum, the Garibaldi Maritime Museum, hiking the Cape Meares Viewpoint and Octopus Tree Loop, and hiking at Oswald State Park. We couldn't believe we started the week not knowing anyone, to being able to say, "See ya' on the road" to many of these people. We will definitely participate in another hangout in the future.